Qualcomm trialling multi-gigabit Wi-Fi with Mercedes AMG

Qualcomm will trial multi-gigabit Wi-Fi to extract data from sensors on Mercedes AMG's Formula 1 racecars using mmWave spectrum and its own chip and processor kit.

Qualcomm Technologies has announced at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona that it will be conducting field trials of multi-gigabit Wi-Fi technology in partnership with Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport during the 2017 Formula 1 season, with the aim of extracting data from vehicles in a faster and more efficient way.

The trials, slated to begin at the British Grand Prix in July, will utilise both 5GHz 802.11ac and multi-gigabit 802.11ad Wi-Fi technology, supported by a Qualcomm QCA9500 chip, across the millimetre-wave (mmWave) 60GHz spectrum band, and will feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor with 128GB of universal flash storage memory. This technology will enable vehicle sensors to transmit telemetry data collected via sensors on the cars while they are on the racetrack.

Qualcomm and Mercedes AMG initially conducted testing using only the 5GHz band to pull tyre data wirelessly by using thermal cameras during the 2016 Formula 1 season.

"Following a successful field trial in Austin last year, the target is to have the 802.11ad Wi-Fi technology running on-car during Friday practice from the 2017 US Grand Prix onwards," said Toto Wolff, executive director and head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport.

"Qualcomm Technologies' leadership in vehicle connectivity is advancing wireless technology in our race garages, and accelerating progress in the wider automotive industry."

In-garage testing of the technology has seen the companies attain download speeds of more than 2Gbps, with the collection and analysis of data meaning Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtterri Bottas will be able to spend more time on the track and less time in the garage while the team optimises the cars' performance during practice sessions.

By using motorsport as its multi-gigabit Wi-Fi test bed, Qualcomm said it can "utilise the trial to assist in further developing technologies and applications that can be potentially used for safer road vehicles, as well as the pursuit of the wireless garage".

"802.11ad multi-gigabit Wi-Fi technology can also address the growing need of bandwidth for content-rich applications in homes, offices, and cars ... as well as evolve towards 5G connectivity," said Derek Aberle, president of Qualcomm.

Qualomm also used MWC to announce its 5G new radio (NR) trials in partnership with Ericsson across the networks of telecommunications carriers Vodafone, NTT DoCoMo, and Telstra.